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Reno dorm explosion prompts town halls in Southern Nevada

Updated July 29, 2019 - 2:12 pm

In response to the explosion that occurred Friday, July 5, damaging Argenta and Nye Halls, the University of Nevada, Reno is planning town hall meetings with students, parents/guardians in Las Vegas to address concerns.

The explosion is believed to have been caused by a possible mechanical failure involving a boiler. Eight people were reported to have minor injuries from the blast, UNR said earlier this month. They were treated by the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority and released.

The town halls are planned for noon and 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at the university’s Las Vegas Office for Prospective Students at 9075 W. Diablo Drive, Suite 200, Las Vegas, NV 89148.

The explosion left the two dormitories uninhabitable for the upcoming school year, prompting UNR to secure the needed 1,300 student beds for the 2019-2020 academic year.

“In a proposed agreement with Eldorado Resorts, University Residential Life and Housing will completely occupy the newly-renovated, non-gaming, stand-alone West Tower (“Sky Tower”) of Circus Circus Reno, ensuring an academic and community environment that promotes student success,” UNR said in a statement Monday.

Since the events happened over the summer, the university is making every effort to communicate with students, parents and guardians who live in Southern Nevada, the university said.

The town hall meetings will be held to discuss the residential life, housing and dining services that will be made available for the 2019-2020 academic year.

“The plan is to seamlessly integrate Wolf Pack Tower into the university’s housing experience,” UNR said in its statement. “Students living there will be an active part of residential life and housing programs and activities designed to aid in the student experience and the transition to being part of the university community.

“While the university looked at other housing properties throughout Reno-Sparks, none could replicate what this building could provide – 1,300 beds, complete university control, ensuring a safe and secure environment, and proximity to campus,” the statement added.

Those scheduled to attend the town hall include Associate Vice President for Student Life Services Romando Nash, Dean of Students Kimberly Thomas, Assistant Director for Student Conduct and Safety Kristi Burch, Assistant Director for Academic Initiatives Peter Gatto and University Police Services Deputy Chief Eric James.

With the news that both Argenta and Nye are structurally sound, the university’s plan moving forward is to rehabilitate and reopen both buildings ASAP, UNR said earlier this month. It has moved into a new phase that includes developing requests for architectural design and construction planning, followed by the construction/rehabilitation projects themselves. The hope is that Nye can return to use by fall 2020, with Argenta back online by fall 2021.

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